What makes this foursome so special is that they have won those rings on the same team they all came up with, the New York Yankees. Aside from Pettitte’s three year stint in his home state of Texas with the Houston Astros, they have all spent their entire career’s in Yankee pinstripes, which is amazing for any era in sports, but especially in this era of free agency, where you hardly see even one player spend their entire career with one team.
Amidst the Yankees core four, is the greatest closer of all time and greatest postseason pitcher of all time, Rivera. In over 130 innings pitched in the playoffs, Mo has an ERA of 0.74 and a WHIP of 0.773, clearly stifling numbers to opposing hitters. He has also recorded the final out of 70 games and nailed down 39 saves in postseason play.
2010 arguably, has been Rivera’s best season ever, considering he has his lowest ERA of his career at a minuscule 1.07, he also has recorded 29 saves as well.
Then there is Pettitte, who is no slouch of a postseason pitcher himself. He went 4-0 for the Yanks last year, winning each clinching game of the three playoff stages, and in doing so he became the all time wins leader in postseason history with 18.
And of course there is Mr. November, Jeter who has had his worst offensive season since his rookie year, hitting at a very pedestrian .264 coming into play this afternoon. The home runs (10) and RBI (60) are what is expected out of a lead-off hitter, and he does have 96 runs scored, but the low batting average really sticks out, considering he is a .314 career hitter and hit .334 just last year.
Never the less, Jeter’s .313 batting average in the postseason speaks for itself and I believe that should hold true, despite the down year in the regular season. Jeter is a natural born leader and wants nothing more than to win another championship for the Yankees.
The lesser of the core four, in terms of performing in the playoffs, is Posada. The veteran catcher has continued to prove to be a productive catcher, even at age 39, posting a .261 batting average, along with 17 home runs and 52 RBI this year. However, his .239 postseason batting average is less than sparkling, and he certainly will never be held in the same breath as Jeter or Rivera when it comes to playoff legends.
But just like Jeter, Rivera, and Pettitte, Posada has more playoff experience than any other player on any other team can even come close to. Sure, Joe Mauer is a better player than Posada, Hanley Ramirez has better numbers than Jeter, and David Price is a better pitcher than Pettitte, but I wouldn’t even consider swapping any of those players for one another, why? Because the core four has experience, and that is all that counts when the playoffs roll around.
So when the Rangers, Rays, Twins, or who ever rolls into the Bronx this October, the Yankees will always have at least one advantage over them, experience, and I will take that any day of the week over younger and more talented players.